16 October, 2007

More CM commentary - learning foreign languages

Recommendations in Volume One: Home Education are for children ages 6-9.

From page 302 ~ based on the work of M. Gouin:

"The verb is the key to the sentence" and "is the bridge between thought and act." we "think in sentences, not in words...which have a logical sequence...of time."

On page 303, she lists a "series" of phrases which pack a learning punch.

"You really learn to think in the new language...You order your thoughts in the new language, and, having done so, the words which express these are an inalienable possession."

Pg. 304 - Here is an example of an elementary 'Series,' showing how 'the servant lights the fire':

"The servant takes a box of matches, (takes.)
She opens the match-box, (opens.)
She takes out a match, (takes out.)
She shuts up the match-box, (shuts up.)
She strikes the match on the cover, (strikes.)
The match takes fire, (takes fire.)
The match smokes, (smokes.)
The match flames, (flames.)
The match burns, (burns.)
And spreads a smell of burning over the kitchen, (spreads.)
The servant bends down to the hearth, (bends down.)
Puts out her hand, (puts out.)
Puts the match under the shavings, (puts.)
Holds the match under the shavings, (holds.)
The shavings take fire, (take fire.)
The servant leaves go of the match, (leave go.)
Stands up again, (stands up.)
Looks at her fire burning, (looks.)
And puts back the box of matches in its place, (puts back.)

My friend, Señora Smith, and I were both so excited about the above list, because it is basically what is done with TPR and TPR Storytelling! She came to CM after TPRS, I came to TPRS recently, and have been a CM student and teacher for about ten years, now. We both had this realization of how much alike both approaches are. Of course, CM is talking about M. Gouin's work, here, but in looking at other PR articles, and information on foreign language learning and presentation in other sections of her volumes, I am convinced all the more that she infused these ideas into her recommendations and schools. I am excited by how much they are like the newer research on TPR which I have mentioned several times in this series of posts.

From page 305-306, we read:

"This refers to M. Gouin's herculean labours in the attempt to learn German. He knew everybody's 'Method,' learned the whole dictionary through, and found at the end that he did not know one word of German 'as she is spoke.'

He returned to France, after a ten months' absence, and found that his little nephew––whom he had left a child of two and a half, not yet able to talk––had in the interval done what his uncle had signally failed to do. "'What!' I thought; 'this child and I have been working for the same time, each at a language. He, playing round his mother, running after flowers, butterflies and birds, without weariness, without apparent effort, without even being conscious of his work, is able to say all he thinks, express all he sees, understand all he hears; and when he began his work, his intelligence was yet a futurity, a glimmer, a hope. And I, versed in the sciences, versed in philosophy, armed with a powerful will, gifted with a powerful memory . . . have arrived at nothing, or at practically nothing!'"

"The linguistic science of the college has deceived me, has misguided me. The classical method, with its grammar, its dictionary, and its translations, is a delusion." "To surprise Nature's secret, I must watch this child."

M. Gouin watches the child––the work in question is the result of his observations.

The method of teaching may be varied, partly because that recommended by M. Gouin requires a perfect command of the French tongue, and teachers who are diffident find a conversational method founded on book and picture easier to work and perhaps as effectual––more so, some people think; but, be this as it may, it is to M. Gouin we owe the fundamental idea."

Sunday Oct. 21 There is more yet to come ~ I've just come across some more astounding material by a TPR researcher which absolutely supports my theory (in red) above, including quotes from M. Gouin's work!! This adds more information to my quest and solidifies and proves the connections that I was making. This is very exciting, indeed!


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